Mending With Each Plate
(by Samantha Rane)
The house where I grew up didn’t smell like fresh garlic or basil leaves but rather occasional toast and over-cooked eggs. My momma worked full-time as a waitress and went to school to be a nurse while raising three children on her own. Understandably, learning to cook gourmet meals was not at the top of her to-do list. She was still my best friend, and I admired how hard she worked for us (us being two younger siblings and me). That was until three weeks before my 20th birthday, when our relationship shifted for the worse. I needed to find my own course of independence, and she wasn’t ready to let me go. We were two impossibly stubborn people, neck to neck, trying to hear ourselves over constant screams and arguments that seemed to start over the dishes or the weather—pointless arguments that escalated into something ugly.
I moved out, and we took a year apart. Then: Covid-19. I came back home to be quarantined with family and help look after my siblings. My relationship with my mother was still rocky but overlooked due to the circumstances. Stuck in one home, we began to make meals together for the kids. It started small, saying nothing to one another while we gathered ingredients. But then it grew. We made Alfredo sauce and shrimp. We began to laugh and cook every night, each time creating a crazier meal, either a recipe we made up or found online. Our relationship mended with each plate and the tight quarters. Covid healed us instead of destroying us. I would never wish for this pandemic, but it did show me how important family is and how you can’t get another one.